We investigate the creativity at work as people across diverse language backgrounds respond to the natural world through naming, metaphor, and myth.

Are words influenced by local environments?

How do we explain similarities and differences between linguistic diversity and biodiversity?

What do different approaches to naming reveal about the role and mechanisms of creativity in language?

Birds provide the natural lens through which we pursue our research: the migrations of barn swallows link a multitude of different languages; owls bear an otherworldly salience acknowledged across cultures; and each community boasts those birds unique to place that hold special significance.

Blog posts on Nature in Name, Metaphor and Myth

Research update: Nature in Name, Metaphor and Myth

What have birds got to do with multilingualism?


Barreau, A; Ibarra, J T; Wyndham, F S; Kozak, R A. “Shifts in Mapuche Food Systems in Southern Andean Forest Landscapes: Historical Processes and Current Trends of Biocultural Homogenization.” Mountain Research and Development. 2019.

Kumar, N; Qureshi, Q; Jhala, Y V; Gosler, A G; Sergio, F. “Offspring defense by an urban raptor responds to human subsidies and ritual animal-feeding practices.” PLoS ONE. 2018.

Kumar, N; Gupta, U; Jhala, Y V; Qureshi, Q; Gosler, A G; Fabrizio, S. “Habitat selection by an avian top predator in the tropical megacity of Delhi: human activities and socio-religious practices as prey-facilitating tools.” Urban Ecosystems. 2018.

Pam, G; Zeitlyn, D; Gosler, A G. “Ethno-ornithology of the Mushere of Nigeria: Children’s Knowledge and Perceptions of birds.” Ethnobiology Letters. 2018.

Wyndham, F S; Park. K. “‘Listen Carefully to the Voices of the Birds’: A Cross-Cultural Review of Birds as Signs.” Journal of Ethnobiology. 2018.

Wyndham, F S. Aichi Biodiversity Target 19: The Valuing, Functioning, Status, and Sharing of Biodiversity Knowledge.